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Brian Wolk and Claude Morais: the designers behind Ruffian

Macy’s announced last week that it will launch a men’s fashion line which they’ll call Threads & Heirs.  The line will go on sale in 200 Macy’s stores nationwide starting March 2010.  The line will be produced by LF USA’s Oxford Collections. Part of the line will also be designed by Ruffian, which is a New York notable luxury design line. This is yet another design house/retail chain collaboration. Since most are for women, this is notable because this is for the guys.

Ruffian is a line by designers Brian Wolk and Claude Morais.  They’re critically acclaimed designers who have extensive fashion training and a lot of success designing for women.  They draw their inspiration from cinema, European court culture and American iconography. They’re also coming off of a collaboration with the Pennsylvania-based Anthropologie chain of stores.

In an interview with Style.com the two designers talked about what designs the upcoming line will have:

We did great shirts and jackets and blazers in linen, cotton, and plaid. For us, it was personal—we pulled out our favorite pieces from our wardrobe. My favorite plaid shirt, Claude’s favorite blazer—and maybe that’s kind of Ruffian. But it’s so important, I think, because if you love something a lot, generally other people will, too. A lot of it was kind of inspired by where we live, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Just walking down Bedford Avenue every day, or riding on the L train, is an inspirational journey. We took lots of pictures of boys from our neighborhood and started from there. We were really lucky—Macy’s was really receptive and really gave us free rein.

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Threads & Heirs design preview

The Threads & Heirs line will not only have luxury designer cred.  It will also be affordable. According to the Macy’s press release, the line will “offer great value”.  It will have tops and jackets prices from $24 for a t-shirt to $99 for a jacket.  The target customer is the 20- to 40-something year old male who is both style conscious but also price sensitive.  The style is described as “cool style with a slim silhouette and unique trimmings.”

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Michelle Obama or Mrs. O has leveraged her home town of Chicago into quite a fashion center for simple Midwestern styles with a big city edge. Her sleeveless tops and stylish shoes are echoed on many working mothers and young professionals bustling about the windy city in summer or winter. Since the First Lady came upon the national scene she has made an excellent fashion idol by mixing interesting colors and layering a sweater for just the right occasion.

Now a lot of off the rack separates are flying out of the department stores as more people embrace her common sense looks. The Fashion Council of American has dubbed Mrs. O a fashion icon! That is pretty good for your first nine months in the public eye.

In my opinion Michelle Obama brought back that efficient 60’s look where a simple but high quality dress accessorized with the right bracelet and a simple necklace is contemporary while stylish. Connect that to her earthy, mother figure taking good care to raise two young daughters and it is no wonder her approval rating and her fashion sense are being applauded.

Many of the anchor department stores are gushing with praise as Macy’s, J Crew and designer maven Tommy Hilfiger among the most notable. Michelle Obama has brought the pretty and demur back into the limelight and carried Chicago fashion right along for the ride.